Welcome to the Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter.
Here is what you will find in this issue:
1. What's New at Neuroscience for Kids
2. Neuroscience for Kids Site of the Month
3. Neuro4kids.com - New Site
4. National Medal of Science Honors
5. Book Review
6. Media Alert
7. Treasure Trove of Brain Trivia
8. Support Neuroscience for Kids
9. How to Stop Your Subscription
A. September Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter was archived
B. Redheads and Dental Anxiety
C. Placebo, Control Groups and the Challenge of Inferring Causality
In September, 6 new figures were added and 37 pages were modified.
The Brain Observatory is a lab at the University of California at San Diego and according to their web site, their mission is:
"... dedicated to the study of the architecture in the human brain. We have optimized multiple complementary imaging modalities, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and computer-controlled microscopy, to illustrate the detailed structural design of the brain and to understand how cognitive systems are perturbed by neurological disease."
The Brain Observatory web site highlights the work going on in the lab. One project is creating a map of the brain of one of the most famous patients in neuroscience named "HM" (Henry Molaison). Mr. Molaison, who passed away on December 2, 2008, was hit by a bicycle and developed seizures when he was nine years old. After a brain operation to control his seizures, Mr. Molaison was left with a strange memory problem: he could remember things that happened before the operation, but he could not form new memories! The Brain Observatory is developing an atlas of Molaison's brain and will make it available on the Internet. The Brain Observatory web site has a few newspaper and magazine articles that describe this project.
You can also watch two interesting videos (one in English and one in
Italian) that describe the work of the Brain Observatory. Several
portions of the web site are still being developed (for example, a virtual
microscope) and some pages appear to be password protected.
Nevertheless, the web site has some interesting material and it will be
even better when more content is available to the public.
Before I continue, let me make a few things very clear:
1. NEURO4KIDS.COM is not part of the University of Washington; it is an independent company.
2. I am the owner of NEURO4KIDS.COM.
3. The original Neuroscience for Kids web site will remain (and grow) and be FREE to use and WITHOUT advertisements.
So, if you are interested, take a look at http://neuro4kids.com -- if
there are materials on the Neuroscience for Kids web site that you would
like, let me know (but use the email address on the NEURO4KIDS.COM web
Complete List of National Medal of Science Recipients
Dr. Berni Alder,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CA
Dr. Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health, MD
Dr. Joanna Fowler, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY
Dr. Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, NY
Dr. James Gunn, Princeton University, NJ
Dr. Rudolf Kalman, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
Dr. Michael Posner, University of Oregon, OR
Dr. JoAnne Stubbe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Dr. J. Craig Venter, J. Craig Venter Institute, MD & CA
Grade Level: Kindergarten to Grade 3
Science books for children are difficult to write. Authors of these books must take a difficult subject and create a book that young readers can understand and enjoy. Writers must also consider how much detail to include and what topics to leave out. "My Body. My Brain" does a decent job introducing the nervous system to children, but it is not without problems.
Author Sally Hewitt divides her book into two page sections each
discussing a different topic: nerves, senses, reflexes, memory, learning,
emotions, and brain health. There are plenty of colorful photographs and
drawings to illustrate each topic. Unfortunately, there are a few factual
errors. For example, the brain is said to be the color gray. The brain
is not gray. Rather, the brain is a pinkish-white color. Also, Hewitt
mentions that "...all animals have brains." This is not true. Some
animals, such as jellyfish and sea stars, do not have a brain. As long as
these errors are pointed out, I would still recommend this book for young
children. Mistakes can sometimes be the best teachers.
B. "The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind" by Carl Zimmer (Time magazine, September 21, 2009).
C. "Bodies in Sync" by Frans de Waal (Natural History magazine, September, 2009) discusses contagious laughter and yawns.
D. "Turbocharging the Brain--Pills to Make Your Smarter" by Gary Stix
(Scientific American, October, 2009).
B. An analysis of approximately 50,000 words in the 20th edition of Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary showed that 58.5%, 21.77% and 13.23% of the words came from Greek alone, Latin alone or a combination of Greek and Latin, respectively. (Source: Butler, R.F., Sources of medical vocabulary, J. Medical Education, 55:128-129, 1980.)
C. The word "doctor" comes from the Latin word "docere" meaning "to teach." Therefore, a doctor can be a teacher who holds an advanced degree in just about any subject.
D. Barbital, one of the first barbituate drugs, was introduced in 1903. The trade name for barbital was "Veronal," referring to Verona, Italy, where Juliet (of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) took a drug that put her to sleep.
E. Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States from 1913 to 1921.
On October 2, 1919, Wilson had a stroke on the right side of his brain
that paralyzed the left side of his body and unable to see the left visual
field (left homonymous hemianopia). (Source: Owen, D., Diseased,
demented, depressed: serious illness in Heads of State, QJM: An
International Journal of Medicine, 96:325-336, 2003).
Help Neuroscience for Kids
Your comments and suggestions about this newsletter and the "Neuroscience for Kids" web site are always welcome. If there are any special topics that you would like to see on the web site, just let me know.
Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.